Since 2013, Piriou and DCNS have been partners in the Kership joint venture set up to market a variety of vessels for maritime security and naval missions. The range includes offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), from 45 to 90 metres in length, suitable for blue water and long range operations. All feature a panoramic (360°) bridge and a Polaris combat management system developed by DCNS to manage the ship’s sensors, display the tactical situation and provide communications resources for missions as part of a multinational force.
OPV 90 (© : Kership)
The largest ship in the range is the OPV 90. The prototype, L’Adroit, undertook a wide variety of missions during the four years it was made available to the French Navy. The L’Adroit was deployed to the Indian Ocean on anti-piracy, counter-terrorism and trafficking interdiction operations, and conducted fisheries policing and illegal immigration prevention missions in the Mediterranean. It also took a company of commandos to Yemen where they evacuated foreign residents and exfiltrated civilians.
With an at-sea availability of 220 days per year, the OPV 90 is designed for extended ocean patrol and surveillance missions and protection against asymmetric as well as a range of other threats. One of the design’s distinguishing features is the high panoramic bridge surmounted by a single enclosed mast housing the radars and other sensors. The bridge area also includes the platform management consoles, the flight ops console and the operations area. Alternatively, the operations area can be located in a separate lockable area below deck.
OPV 90 (© : Kership)
The spacious flight deck can accommodate a 10t helicopter and the hangar a machine weighing up to 5t along with a UAV. L’Adroit was the first European vessel to deploy a UAV (a Schiebel S-100 Camcopter) on operational missions.
With accommodation for 27 passengers or commandos in addition to the crew of 32, the OPV 90 can be equipped with R-ESM and C-ESM equipment and is ideal for special forces operations. The design includes a pair of stern ramps for the quick launch and recovery of two 9m RHIBs. In addition to conventional weapons, the L’Adroit is equipped with two non-lethal water cannons that can be remotely controlled from the bridge.
OPV 75 (© : Kership)
OPV 75: compact, fast and versatile
Like the larger OPV 90, the OPV 75 is fast, rugged, economical and easy to operate and maintain. The design combines a steel hull and an aluminium superstructure. The OPV 75 also offers an endurance of two weeks without replenishment. Other features include a reconfigurable mission bay with space for three 20-foot containers. The adjacent aft section has a stern ramp for the rapid launch of a 9m RHIB. Another 7m davit-mounted RHIB is available on the deck. The OPV 75 also offers a flight deck able to accommodate a 10t helicopter, plus a small hangar for two UAVs.
OPV 52 (© : Kership)
New OPVs with C-Sharp hulls
In 2016, Kership added two new models to its range of OPVs, namely a 45m type and a 52m type. Both feature steel hulls and aluminium superstructures and offer ten days’ endurance. More importantly, they feature C-Sharp (Combined-Speed Hull with All-Round Performance) hullforms based on a patented innovative concept developed in association with the LHEEA hydrodynamics laboratory in Nantes. C-Sharp hulls offer high performance at all speeds. Compared to hulls optimised primarily for pursuit speeds, C-Sharp vessels offer 10 to 30% greater range at patrol and transit speeds. They also offer better acceleration in difficult seas and improved platform stability for RHIB deployment and recovery. Kership is also applying the concept to new-generation coastal patrol vessels.
(© : Kership)
The OPV 52 has a top speed of 35 knots and a combat system that can include four Marte Mk2 anti-ship missiles, a Simbad RC close-in air defence turret, a 40mm main gun and two 12.7mm machine guns. It can also be equipped with an R-ESM and C-ESM suite and two decoy launchers. The OPV 45 has a top speed of 30 knots, can be equipped with 40mm and 12.7mm guns, and can also carry two 6.8m RHIBs.
OPV 45 (© : Kership)